Our Cocktail of the Week is this delicious White Possum Naked Amaretto.
Naked Amaretto Sour (bourbon twist option)
60ml Naked Amaretto (alternate 45ml Naked + 15ml Upshot Whiskey)
15-30ml Aquafaba or egg white
30ml lemon juice
5ml simple syrup
Lemon twist or slice & maraschino cherry
Rocks / old fashion glass
Add liquids to shaker and dry shake for 20-30secs.
Add ice and shake vigorously
Strain over fresh ice into glass and garnish
Drink and enjoy!
Last but not least in our Women in Wine Mother’s Day series, we have the marvellous Jane Ferrari. Meeting Jane is unforgettable. Her job title at Yalumba is multifaceted. She is a storyteller, a communicator, a brand ambassador, a legend. Spend an hour with Jane and you'll find out more about the heritage and culture of Yalumba and the Barossa than most locals learn in a lifetime. As an ambassador for Yalumba Jane has travelled the world talking about their wines. Here is a fantastic article and interview with Jane: https://www.vervemagazine.co.nz/teller-tantalising-tales.
We are pleased to announce that we will be blessed with her presence in June at our Yalumba Rare and Fine Launch. This will be held at Brightwater Hotel on Friday 21 June. At the event, we will be tasting through all of Yalumba’s new release reds, including the Signature ($70), Menzies ($60) and The Caley ($350) to name a few, whilst Jane tantalises us with her stories of the wines and their home in the Barossa. And all for only $30 a head.
To all of the mums out there, have a fantastic Mother’s Day and we look forward to having a glass of wine with you soon!
The next lady in our Mother's Day women in wine series is Virginia Willcock from Vasse Felix. Virginia has been the head wine maker at the founding winery of Margret River from 2006. When I think of rock stars within the wine industry Virginia is always up there towards the top of my list. Not only does she make some of the countries greatest cabernet and chardonnay but she is also just an absolute legend. If you ever get the chance to meet Virginia you will be blown away not only by her incredible knowledge, but her laid back nature and ability to talk about wine in a way that makes it cool. If you didn’t like wine before meeting her I'm sure you will afterwards. Admittedly, Virginia is spoilt with being able to source her grapes from some of the greatest vineyards in Margret River but its how she allows those grapes to really shine of their terroir and all without compromise.
Vasse Felix Wines Available at Birtinya Cellars
Tom Cullity Cabernet 15
RRP $179.99 Our Price $169.99
Come on down to Birtinya Cellars and check out our range of Vasse Felix Wines!
As Mother’s Day is this weekend, I would like to take 5 minutes to quickly give a nod to some of my favourite women who are kicking huge goals in the Australian wine industry. I want to talk to you about 3 women in particular who are making a great impact in different ways.
Let’s start where all good wine comes from, the vineyards, and a lady who has not only managed to take her own family’s historical vineyards to new heights, but has also been a shining light for the whole industry with her work with the CSIRO. See this amazing article on Prue which was published on the Australian Wine website- https://www.australianwine.com/en-AU/our-makers/prue-henschke
2016 - Australian Women in Wine Awards Viticulturist of the Year
2011 - InStyle and Audi Women in Style Awards – ‘Environment’ category award
2011 - The Age/Sydney Morning Herald Good Wine Guide Winery of the Year
2010 - Advantage SA Regional Awards – Sustainability award
2006 - Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine Winemaker of the Year
2005 - Induction into the USA Wine & Spirit Magazine Hall of Fame
1994/95 - Joint International Red Winemaker of the Year
Henscke Wines at Birtinya Cellars
I have always been interested in what is happening around Australia when it comes to new, funky, craft products. We seem to be coming along leaps and bounds in the department of craft alcohol lately with so many amazing new producers popping up.
I was doing some research into Aussie gins, trying to find some new products for Birtinya Cellars when I stumbled across the Abel Gin Company. What struck me first was not the gins themselves per se but the distiller, Natalie Fyare. Natalie is known throughout the wine industry as being the ‘Queen of Australian Sparkling’.
If you know anything about making wine, you will know that one of the most difficult things to do is blend together base wine for sparkling. There is an art to looking at the different elements, blending them together to create something truly different. Natalie worked as the head wine maker for Jansz, one of Australia’s top sparkling wines.
So when I heard that she has taken up making gin, I just knew I had to get some. Knowing how meticulous and super passionate about local Aussie/Tassie ingredients Natalie is I knew that these gins would be superb. And now that I have them in stock they have lived up to all expectations and more.
These local Tassie botanicals are amazing. Come into Birtinya Cellars to grab a bottle today!
One of the questions I get asked most often is “what is Natural wine?” That is a very good question because there is no real definition. So, I thought I would go some way as to explain what natural wines are and the current movement behind them.
So, as I just stated, there is no real definition of ‘natural’ wine, so the best way to explain it is by saying that natural wine is a movement. These wines are crafted by winemakers who want to go back to basics by using absolutely the most minimal human intervention to create a wine that is completely true to its terroir. Wine makers refer to this as to going back in time and making wine how it was once made before chemicals and machinery got in the way. This is where the hype has come from. It is one of the many natural trends at the moment and I believe what some producers are doing in this area is absolutely fantastic.
However, this seems to have started some sort of conflict out in the wine drinking world. The ‘conventional’ side saying that ‘natural’ wines are faulty and lack flavour. Whilst the ‘natural’ side saying that ‘conventional’ wine is full of nasty chemicals, that give people headaches and a bigger hangover. There is a lot of chatter out there on both sides of the fence and my opinion is that both sides are right and both sides are wrong and I think it’s time we start just looking at all wines on their merits and not put them into a box.
I believe that not all ‘natural’ wines are actually made completely naturally. On the flip side, not all ‘conventional’ wines are made with harsh chemicals and are over worked by wine makers. Some ‘natural’ wines are faulty and oxidised but most are amazing juicy wines with complexity and heart. Most cheap ‘conventional’ wines are full of additives but most wines over the $25 mark are made using only the bare minimum additions necessary to create a fantastic wine that is commercially viable.
Here is a bit more information behind it all
As we all know, grapes come from vines. In natural wine, they should be organically produced to remain as natural as possible. The grapes are then picked and, in the case, of ‘natural’ wine they should be hand picked to eliminate the use of machines. Then once in the winery the grapes should literally be crushed to create juice, left to ferment naturally. Then, once fermented, separated from its solids and then finally bottled without being fined or filtered. There are a few other ways the wines could be made due to how the winemaker would like the wine to turn out, for example leaving the juice on its skin to either generate colour for a red wine or add complexity and richness to a white. Or you could allow the wine to go through malolactic fermentation another natural ferment that can happen in wines to change a bitey malic acid into a softer lactic acid (mainly used in reds), just to name a few variations.
So, this is where it gets confusing. All wines are made in a very similar way but in conventional wine making they are using machines and additives to better control the outcome of the wine in the bottle. Here is a little breakdown for you.
Organic production – there are very many wineries who grow their grapes organically and most of them are not actually certified. As it costs a hell of a lot of time and money to certify and most wineries choose not to. And this includes some ‘natural’ wineries.
Hand Picking – Again this is done in both natural and conventional wines. The difference being ‘natural’ wines can be perceived as more valuable and can justify a higher price tag. In contrast, many conventional wines are made to be price friendly. You will not find a bottle of any wine, natural or otherwise, that has been hand-picked for under $20 a bottle. The cost of labour involved is way too high. The quality of the grapes is obviously significantly greater being hand picked compared to machine harvested.
Crushing/Pressing – As far as I am concerned unless you are using feet to stomp the grapes or an old-fashioned basket press, then all wines are crushed equally.
Fermentation – There is yeast in the air everywhere. If you crush grapes and allow them to sit, they will inevitably start to ferment. The problem with this is that this process if done naturally and may not be able to be controlled. This is why ‘conventional’ winemaking inoculate their juice with a yeast strain they know and that way they will be able to have more control over the ferment. There is a huge amount of ‘conventional’ wines that are naturally fermented.
The second side to this is the use of temperature-controlled tanks in conventional winemaking. These are used to ensure ferment does not get too hot or too cold to ensure they ferment all the way and that there is not too much residual sugar left in the juice after fermentation. If there is too much then the wine may be too sweet or, worse yet, go through a second fermentation later on in the wine’s life. As with wild ferments, there are also a lot of ‘natural’ wines that have been fermented in controlled tanks.
Sulphur – now this is the big one that gets everyone talking. There is a huge belief that wines that have sulphur in them are bad for you, give you a headache or make your hangover worse. Before we move on with this, I want everyone to understand that sulphur occurs naturally in fermentation and all wine will contain it. The addition of sulphur is used to protect the wine from a whole range of problems that can occur in winemaking, the main one being oxygen. Oxygen basically kills flavour. Like when you have had a bottle open for too long and there is nothing left, the same happens during the winemaking process.
Other Additions – winemakers can use a wide variety of additions to control their wines in ‘conventional’ wines. Things like tartaric acid (a natural occurring acid in grapes that have been extracted into powder form) to add or balance acidity then on the flip side there are de-acidifiers like Calcium Carbonate (aka chalk) to make the wine less acidic. Winemakers add oak chips (in cheaper wines) or add the wine to oak barrels to add tannin and to the wine. In Europe where it’s a bit colder, winemakers can add sugar to make the wines more alcoholic. They might also add Dimethyl Dicarbonate to stabilise the wine or lessen alcohol levels. This is just to name a few.
Fining – This is basically getting rid of any particles in the wine that make it cloudy. The ‘conventional’ way is to add a mixture of coagulants into the wine so the heavy particles drop to the bottom and the clear juice can be separated. This process is done with a wide range of products but mainly egg whites and milk products. Natural wines will not (generally) be fined. This means their appearance is generally cloudy. This makes no real difference in the flavour of the wine it just adds texture.
This is all a big generalisation, I am just trying to give you an idea of what happens in the winemaking process to differentiate between ‘conventional’ and ‘natural’ winemaking. I personally believe both styles of wine can be absolutely fantastic and they should be all judged on their individual merits and not be put into a box and determined based on opinion of style.
Let’s start talking about how the Australian wine industry is diverse and ever evolving. Our winemakers are amongst the best in the world and should be celebrated no matter how they decide to make their wines.
Here’s to trying a broader range of wine in 2019 and not be blinkered with our thoughts but rather completely open to trying new styles!
Sunshine Coast Hotels Wine Specialist
This week as we're in the Australia Day long weekend, I have been thinking about how far the liquor industry in this fabulous country of ours has come. It makes me proud to be a part of this fabulous industry. So, for “All In Good Taste” this week, I wanted to have a quick chat about the Australian liquor industry, where we have come from and where we are today.
No matter whether you are a beer, wine or spirit drinker, this country’s heritage in all things booze is rich and diverse. It starts way back before white man reached the shores. There is evidence that Aboriginals in Tasmania had known about the art of fermentation and an article by Vladimir Jiranek, Professor in Oenology at the University of Adelaide states that “In the past, Aboriginal people tapped the Eucalyptus Gunnii trees to allow the sap, resembling maple syrup, to collect in hollows in the bark or at the base of the tree. Ever-present yeast would ferment the liquid to an alcoholic, cider-like beverage that the local Aboriginal people referred to as Way-a-linah.”
It is known that the Aboriginals would collect and eat this sap, but whether it had any major significance in their society or culture is not known. It is said to have a sweet and sour flavour that tastes something like apple cider and that early settlers in Tasmania would also collect the sap to consume. Keep in mind that its alcohol content would be more along the lines of 0.5 to 1% and would have to be consumed in large quantities to make people drunk.
It wasn’t until colonisation did we start to see alcohol prevalent in the society of Australia. In fact, Captain Cook was said to have brewed beer on the Endeavour as a way of preserving drinking water. However, it was rum (a generic word at that time for any distilled beverage) that was the tipple of choice to the early settlers, so much so that it was used as an unofficial currency for a short period of time. Rum at that point was being consumed at outrageous levels so the government of the time thought it would be a good idea to change people from drinking spirits to beer and so they started to import hops and brew beer as early as the 1790s. But it wasn’t until James Squire successfully cultivated his own hops in 1804 that the beer industry really took off.
The first beers were all top fermenting ales that were quicker to produce and it wasn’t until 1885 that the first lager was brewed by Gambrinus Brewery in Melbourne. But Lager quickly took off and no longer than 2 years later the Fosters Brothers arrived from New York and started brewing with refrigeration equipment to make it more achievable to brew in large batches and 2 years after that Castlemaine brewed the first lager in QLD.
Our magnificent wine industry has just as rich of a history. Governor Phillip actually grabbed some vine cuttings from the Cape of Good Hope on his way to Australia on the first fleet and some small vineyards were set up around Sydney straight after colonisation. But it wasn’t until James Busby, did we see a large growth in the industry. Busby went on a year long mission around Europe collecting vine cuttings from all the great wine regions in Europe and brought them all back to Australia. Most of the old vines still alive today can be traced back to this mission and are among the oldest vines in the world.
As the colony opened its doors to more and more European settlers the wine industry grew and it was due to this immigration that the wine regions of Australia are now world famous. One of our most famous wine regions the Barossa Valley, started as a settlement for the people of Prussia (now Germany) who were escaping from religious persecution. Some of those families are still making wine, take the Henschke and Langmeil families for example.
It didn’t take us long to start winning accolades for our wines, one Australian wine won a gold medal "first class" at the 1882 Bordeaux International Exhibition and another won a gold medal "against the world" at the 1889 Paris International Exhibition.
However, it is in the products you see on the shelves now, that you really get an idea of how far we have come. We have thousands of producers making the most amazing beer, wine and spirits. And the day of the big companies ruling the roost are slowly dying, with craft brewers, distilleries and wineries leading the way in the evolution of the booze world. There are now, at last count, 605 Craft Breweries, 2468 wineries and more than 120 distilleries now operating in Australia.
These craft producers are the ones pushing the boundaries and are the reason we see the variety that now have on our shelves. Wineries planting grape varietals that were only seen in remote places in Europe are starting to become mainstream, beers like Sour Boysenberry double Indian Pale Ale and Farmhouse Noir Saison and vodka being made from sheep’s whey in Tasmania are amongst hundreds of cool, quirky drinks that are being produced.
Being Australia Day this weekend it’s a great time to try a new beer, wine or spirit that is being made in this wonderful country of ours.
Come on in to Birtinya Cellars where we have a huge range of Aussie products and let us help you find you a new drink to try this weekend.
Rosé ... The Summer Wine!
Rosé, which used to be one of the most unfashionable wines on the Australian market, is now moving forward in popularity in leaps and bounds. This week, I would like to chat to you about the wonderful world of Rosé. What it is, where it has come from and the amazing wines we are now seeing on our shelves.
Rosé is the fastest growing wine category in Australia at the moment, growing at a rate of approximately 200% a year. And the Sunshine Coast is right behind this push with the postcodes of 4551 and 4556 being the second and third highest volume postcodes in Australia for Rosé consumption.
The biggest question is why?
Well, it’s pretty simple really. Not only is Rosé super delicious, but it suits our warm climate, goes with almost any food and there is a style out there to suit every palate.
Once upon a time, Rosé in Australia was a very sweet, one dimensional wine that was an after-thought of the winemaking industry. Now, almost every winery in the country is fighting to produce the newest most sophisticated Rosé wine. Why? If you look at the rise in popularity of Rosé in Europe, you will get your answer.
Provence Rosé has had a significant rise to popularity over the past 10 years mostly due to the palates of the UK changing from sweet to dry. This rise in popularity there sparked a chain reaction down under. Once Aussies who went on holidays in Europe tried these wines, they started to ask for it back home. Winemakers who saw this rise also jumped on the band wagon and started to make Rosés in a style that replicated southern France. Now there are hundreds of amazing Rosés being made here in Australia. Every time you look there is a new Rosé launching on the market and this is great news for us consumers.
What actually is Rosé?
It’s not really a red wine and it’s not really a white wine ... it's sort of in between. All wine, if crushed and the juice is separated from its skin, is actually white. You just have to look at champagne which is made using Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier, both red grapes with chardonnay. So to get red wine, you have to gently crush the grapes allowing the juice and the skins to stay together then you leave it for a certain period of time depending on how much colour the winemaker wants. With most red wine, you’re talking 3-4 weeks or sometimes longer. For Rosé you do the same, but obviously for a shorter period of 1-2 days, depending on how much colour is required.
Making Rosé in the category of red, right?
Well maybe not. Part 2 of the story of making Rosé is very much white in style. Once the juice is separated from its skins, the wine is made the same way a white would be made. It would be fermented and fined and thrown in a bottle. Most white wines are left with their natural acid style making them crunchy and refreshing, like Rosé is. Whereas most reds are allowed to go through an acid changing ferment making them more soft.
Rosés are made from almost all the red grape varietals you can think of and as they rise in popularity, the rarer the grape varietals you will find. Not only are there traditional Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet and Shiraz Rosés, but now it’s easy to find a Sangiovese, Nero de Avola, Tempranillo, Grenache or Cinsaut Rosé and the list goes on.
The best part about Rosé is not only its diversity in style, but also its amazing ability to match most foods and situations. So, whether you are down the beach having some fish and chips or if you are at a mate’s place throwing a few steaks on the BBQ, Rosé can fit into any situation. Most importantly, it’s fantastic on its own, being super juicy and refreshing.
Picking the right Rosé
I would think that for a lot of you the idea of an Espresso Martini would send your thoughts into the beginning of one of those amazing nights out with family and friends. So as it is about to be one of the biggest party nights of the year, I thought I would showcase this amazing cocktail for our Cocktail of the Week.
Although it is thought that this cocktail is a fairly new kid on the block, the Espresso Martini actually started its life as an Espresso Vodka in 1928 at the Soho Brasserie in London when one customer asked for a drink to wake his date up. The original recipe was a shot of coffee, sugar syrup and both Tia Maria and Kahlua. Not much has changed over the year except maybe that now only one type of coffee liqueur is used and most of us prefer the non-sweetened version.
What has changed though is the amount of different types of Espresso Martini there are. Mint Choc, Spiced rum, salted caramel, tequila, almost anything you can think of.
All Martinis are made by combining the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, adding ice and giving it one hell of a good shake. Then poured through a strainer into a martini glass. Topped with a couple of coffee beans for garnish.
However, my favourite way to mix up this amazing cocktail is not by adding different ingredients but by getting the best ingredients. Here are my two most indulgent espresso martini combinations.
For any other recommendations please do not hesitate to send me an email or Facebook message.
From all of us at All in Good Taste, we wish you the most wonderful New Year’s Eve and look forward to spending time with you in the coming year.
We have just received a shipment of the fine beers from La Sirene, so I though what better way to showcase them to the wonderful people of the Sunshine Coast than by making it my beer of the week.
La Sirene is an Urban Farmhouse Brewery next door to the Darebin Creek & National Park in inner-city Melbourne, who focus solely on producing Saison or Farmhouse Ales. Farmhouse ales literally come from the same farm that the farmer produces beer out of their own grains and ferment with the natural yeasts found around their farm. Saison in French translates to season as this was a beer made from that season’s crop. Nowadays, Saison or Farmhouse is used to designate that the beers are fermented using wild yeasts found in and around the brewery. In La Sirene’s case, the natural yeasts are the backbone and formative element in their brewing. They will forage from the local creek and National Park to bring in wild yeasts that will impact the beers they brew.
Phil Markowski, current brew master at Two Roads Brewing and author of “Farmhouse Ales” asked Belgian brewers to define the style. He was told it should be something that’s dry, but not too dry, a brew for the season and something special. Not exactly style-defining characteristics, but that’s part of what makes farmhouse beers so fun. You don’t always know what you’re going to get and the beers from La Sirene are no exception. We currently have a Saison, Wild Saison, Farmhouse Red, Farmhouse Noir, Pale Ale, Citray Sour and a Praline (dessert style).
Pop by Birtinya Cellars to check them out.
For any other recommendations, please do not hesitate to send me an email or Facebook message.
From all of us at All in Good Taste, we wish you the most wonderful New Year’s Eve and look forward to spending time with you in the coming year.